Performing Arts Renovation Includes Auditorium

Music and theater programs are an important part of the education and extracurricular activities of students across the country. For years, students at Weaver High School in Hartford, CT made do with their 1970’s auditorium to put on musicals, concerts and presentations. But in 2019, that all changed when their brand-new auditorium opened as part of a $133 million renovation to the school.


PDC Inc. of Springfield, MA spent years assisting in the renovation of the dilapidated school, creating a beautiful and functional auditorium to be used by the award-winning performing arts program.image001

National Building Museum Presents Justice is Beauty: The Work of MASS Design Group

MASS release Gheskio MASS release PeaceNew Exhibition Showcases Nonprofit Architecture Firm Whose Design Work

Focuses on Public Health, Personal Well-Being, and Human Dignity



WASHINGTON, D.C.―The speed and deadliness with which the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the globe, causing more than 2.7 million deaths and a significant disruption to economies everywhere, has generated a worldwide discussion about how buildings and public spaces can help or harm us when it comes to health and safety. A timely and important new exhibition at the National Building Museum explores the role that architecture can—and must—play in improving people’s lives and environments.



Justice is Beauty: The Work of MASS Design Group opens on April 9, 2021, in conjunction with the Museum’s reopening after an extended closure. The exhibition showcases MASS Design Group, a socially conscious nonprofit architecture firm that has paved the way in designing health structures to manage disease outbreaks such as tuberculosis, cholera, and Ebola. Other innovative projects by the firm include schools, food-conservation labs, memorials to commemorate civil injustices, and designs for urban spaces. Justice is Beauty will be on display through September 2022

MASS Design Group is transforming the architecture field through its pathbreaking projects around the world,” said Brent Glass, Interim Executive Director of the Museum. “This exhibition of their work, along with their Gun Violence Memorial Project, directly reflects the Museum’s vision to educate and engage audiences about the built environment, and to challenge them to advocate for an equitable and sustainable future.”

MASS Design Group, which is based in Boston but has a presence in several U.S. cities as well as in Kigali, Rwanda, was founded in 2008 by students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Named for the collective’s motto, “A Model of Architecture Serving Society,” the firm’s philosophy is that architecture is never neutral—it either heals or hurts. MASS Design also believes that improving people’s lives through design demands more than a building; it requires long-term engagement with clients and communities. Justice is Beauty is organized around five themes that reflect qualities embedded in the firm’s work: Engaging, Healing, Fostering, Conserving, and Marking. The exhibition lifts the curtain on MASS Design’s process through models, videos, material samples, sketches, diagrams, and photographs.

Dr. Paul Farmer, a co-founder of the healthcare social justice organization Partners In Health, has said that the design of medical facilities need not sacrifice beauty and dignity for efficiency and cleanliness. Inspired by this idea, MASS Design created the state-of-the-art Butaro District Hospital in rural northern Rwanda, a complex that integrates indoor and outdoor space and provides ample access to daylight and fresh air. Beyond simply addressing the need for a care center, the Butaro project also spurred grassroots economic growth and development. Local construction labor and materials, such as the area’s ubiquitous volcanic rock, led to a more sustainable and inexpensive build. MASS Design went on to create housing for doctors, a residential oncology support center, and a cancer treatment center in the same area. The firm’s work in Butaro established a thread of design, research, and policy recommendations that connect the projects displayed in Justice is Beauty, as well as the firm’s work around the world.

MASS Design’s other healthcare work also features a commitment to the dignity of patients and caregivers. The GHESKIO Tuberculosis Hospital, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, features outdoor consultation spaces, allowing for private conversations between patients and medical staff in the open air, where transmission risk is lower. In the Maternity Waiting Village, in Kasungu, Malawi, expectant mothers congregate in a compound whose design mirrors that of a Malawian village. Here, they can spend the last weeks of their pregnancy in a supportive, safe place with healthcare nearby.

“At MASS, we believe that the search for beauty is the search for justice, and that architecture’s aesthetic appeal cannot be separated from its impact on people’s lives,” said Michael Murphy, co-founder and CEO of MASS Design Group. “We want our work to challenge assumptions about building performance, craft, design, research, and the role of design professionals in enacting measurable outcomes for people and the world we inhabit.”

MASS has designed several schools with a similarly holistic approach. For the Umubano Primary School, in Kigali, Rwanda, MASS created the furniture in addition to the infrastructure. Construction of the Ilima Conservation School in Ilima, Democratic Republic of Congo, was conducted using materials made and sourced exclusively in and around the site. The school is a lesson for how conservation and wildlife protection can improve lives through community empowerment.

In 2018, the firm made headlines for its first major U.S. project: the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama, which commemorates more than 4,000 victims of racially motivated lynching. The structure suspends 800 Corten steel markers to represent the U.S. counties where racial terror lynchings took place, each engraved with the names of its victims. Here—as in the firm’s proposed designs for the U.K. Holocaust Memorial, in London, and the Kigali Genocide Memorial, in Kigali, Rwanda—the memorial offers an active space for reflection, empathy, and education.

Active research projects are highlighted throughout the exhibition to demonstrate MASS Design’s ongoing commitment to learning. Large-scale models, striking photographs, and powerful videos are paired with raw materials, furniture, drawings, and murals that showcase the firm’s groundbreaking approach to its projects. In the Great Hall, visitors can experience a demonstration structure of the firm’s Lo-Fab Pavilion, created with students and faculty at Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design’s Center for Design Research.

In conjunction with Justice is Beauty, MASS Design will be featured at the Museum with the Washington, D.C., debut of the Gun Violence Memorial Project, which also opens on April 9. Combining architecture with memory and advocacy, this installation—four glass houses that contain mementos of people killed by gun violence—is a partnership with conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas and gun violence prevention organizations Purpose Over Pain and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. The Memorial, located on the Museum’s ground floor, will be free for all visitors.

Justice is Beauty: The Work of MASS Design Group is made possible by Everytown for Gun Safety, The Kendeda Fund, CoStar Group, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, STUDIOS Architecture, ARUP, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and Herman Miller Cares. The Gun Violence Memorial Project is presented in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. Additional support was provided by John Means and Rebecca Ballard, Robert Holleyman and Bill J. Keller, McInturff Architects, and Arentz Landscape Architects, LLC.


The MASS Design Group monograph, Justice is Beauty, is available for purchase at the Museum Shop: go.nbm.org/massdesignbook.

: (1) Expecting mothers at the Maternity Waiting Village in Kasungu, Malawi. Photo by Iwan Baan. BELOW: (2) GHESKIO Tuberculosis Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Iwan Baan. (3) National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Alabama. Photo by Alan Ricks.


The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, planning, and design is important for everyone. Through exhibitions, educational programs, and special events, we welcome visitors of all ages to experience stories about the built world and its power to shape our lives, our communities, and our futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448, info@nbm.org, or visit www.nbm.org. Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Blockchain market size in banking and financial institutions to grow 15x to $22 billion by 2026

Data presented by cryptocurrency trading simulator Crypto Parrot indicates that the blockchain market size in banking and financial institutions is projected to grow at least 15 fold between 2021 and 2026, from $1.45 billion to $22.46 billion. On average, the market size is estimated to grow by almost 74% annually.

In 2022, the market size is expected to hit $2.52 billion, a growth of 73.79% from this year’s projections. By 2023, estimations indicate the market size will stand at $4.39 billion, while in 2024, the value will hit $7.63 billion. In 2025, the market will be estimated at $13.27 billion, representing a growth of 69.25% from the 2024 forecast.

Conclusion of blockchain application research to expand market size

Different banking and financial industry players are currently still researching the application of blockchain technology in the sector. The report highlights the impact of the current tests on the market size. According to the research report:

“The tests will likely materialize in the coming years, offering actual use cases in return contributing to the surge in market size. Most of the solutions under research cover the entire business chain from internal organizational processes to the client’s end.”

Blockchain technology is touted as a game-changer. However, some jurisdictions have not warmed up to the idea fully. The report highlights how regulatory hurdles might impact the technology’s rollout. According to the research report:

“Despite the optimism around the role of blockchain in the banking and financial industry, the issue of regulatory hurdles cannot be ignored. To realize the technology’s full potential, all players globally need to be on the same page.”

Despite the potential setback from the regulatory aspect, there is a consensus that blockchain technology will enable banks and financial institutions to offer better service and more security to customers.

Read the full story with data here: https://cryptoparrot.com/article/blockchain-market-size-in-banking-and-financial-institutions-to-grow-15x-to-22-billion-by-2026

Fire Features

As founder of the design and build firm Fire Features, sculptor Elena Colombo has turned what she calls her “healthy pyromania” into a booming business where she creates stunning fire, water and wind features that adorn the landscapes of private homes, hotels, and resorts worldwide. Elena’s sculptures are often the defining element of a landscape. They accentuate a space and give it unique character.
Elena is especially inspired by the primal need we have for fire and our instinct to gather around a warm lighted place to share food, stories, music and experiences. As she puts it, she’s on a mission “to restore the hearth as a ceremonial place and as a point of convergence for families and friends.”  Her designs reflect this goal. They are pieces of art that dazzle the senses and draw people around for conversation, warmth and happy memories.

Overlook Café, renovated and reconceptualized by Arcsine, transports members and guests to a time when mid-century modern architecture and design flourished. Situated above the pool room at The Olympic Club—a historic athletic club operating since 1860 in San Francisco—the café combines the club’s sports-driven heritage with stylish and contemporary accoutrements.

The café’s logo—with the light blue-accentuated bottom of the letters playfully depicted as being half-submerged in water—along with a framed vintage club flag greets guests as they enter the bright space. Overlooking the club’s swimming pool, the multipurpose space features bold yet classic aesthetics such as white picket tiles from Statement Tile and luxury vinyl tile flooring from Reward.




Saint Louis Zoo solar canopy 1

(St. Louis, MO, Sept. 4, 2019) KAI Design has created a unique solar canopy for the Saint Louis Zoo that provides much-needed shade for visitors, absorbs light and generates power.

The solar panel shade canopy, officially called Williams Family Solar Pavilion, provides shelter for a 2,200-square-foot dining area at a prominent location in the zoo. During the planning process for a retail renewal program in the heart of the zoological park, the project team recognized an opportunity to greatly expand the amount of sheltered outdoor dining area.

“The prominence of the location presented a unique opportunity and demanded ambitious aesthetic goals,” said Carl Karlen, Design Principal at KAI and Senior Designer on the project. “The canopy overlooking the central lagoon is highly visible to the millions of annual visitors, many of whom will sit in its shade enjoying their meals. It will also host important after-hours events as a source of additional revenue. The generosity of a sponsor elevated the possibilities for a distinctive architectural solution adding to the fabric of the historic and varied campus.”

Discussions on sustainability and LEED certification goals yielded the decision to include electrical power generated on-site from a solar power array. Design challenges included integration of technical requirements and aesthetics of the solar array itself (a steep 20-degree panel slope, exposed wiring and connections and an industrial appearance).

“The strategic location of the structure was selected to avoid disruption to seating and other uses,” said Karlen. “LEED requirements for power generation and lighting spillover, and harmonization of the new structure with the existing naturalistic context were also considered.”

The final architectural design allowed for inclusion of extensive custom artwork engraved into the Corten steel structure, which features aquatic life located throughout the park.

Power UP installed the panels and KAI Build was the general contractor on the project.


REPORT: Energy Efficiency Leads Calif. Job Growth, Nationwide Job Growth 

Industry now employs 318,500 Californians; grew 2.6% in 2018

  • 34% of Calif. energy workers are employed by energy efficiency businesses
  • Top 10 States for EE Jobs: Calif., Texas, N.Y., Fla., Ill., N.C., Mass., Mich., Ohio, Va. 
  • 41 states, including Calif., employ more workers in energy efficiency than fossil fuels 
  • 11% of Calif. energy efficiency workers are veterans

LOS ANGELES – Energy efficiency is the fastest-growing segment of U.S. energy-sector employment, now employing more than 2.3 million Americans—including 318,500 in California— according to a new analysisfrom E4TheFuture and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Energy efficiency workers now account for 34 percent of all energy workers in California, and 28 percent nationally.

The new report, Energy Efficiency Jobs in America, finds energy efficiency jobs grew 3.4 percent nationally in 2018 –more than double the rate of growth for overall jobs nationwide — with 7.8% growth projected for 2019. In California, employers added over 8,100 jobs for a 2.6% rate.

Among states, California led the nation in energy-efficiency employment with 318,500 jobs, followed by Texas (162,800), New York (123,300), Florida (118,400), and Illinois (89,400).  Thirteen states saw efficiency jobs increase by more than five percent in 2018, led by New Mexico (11.6%), Nevada (8.1%), Oklahoma (7.2%), Colorado (7.2%), and New Jersey (7.1%). Not a single state saw declines in energy efficiency employment in 2018.

The report, released at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) in Manhattan Beach, California, highlights energy efficiency’s continued economic importance.

“While politicians argue over the direction of our energy transition, the economic benefits of improving energy efficiency continue to unite America’s business and environmental interests,” said Pat Stanton, Director of Policy at E4TheFuture. “Not only is expanding America’s energy efficiency key to solving multiple climate policy goals, it is now integral to businesses’ expansion plans – saving money and creating local jobs that cannot be outsourced.”

Efficiency businesses added 76,000 net new jobs in 2018, accounting for half of all net jobs added by America’s energy sector (151,700). The sector also employed twice the number of workers in 2018 as all fossil fuel industries combined (1.18 million) and in 41 states, including California, energy efficiency employs more workers than fossil fuels. There are now more than 360,000 energy efficiency businesses operating across the U.S., including 51,000 in California.

“We all know energy efficiency saves consumers and businesses money with every month’s power bill,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of E2. “We should also remember that energy efficiency is creating jobs and driving economic growth in every state – and doing so while also helping our environment, not hurting it.”

Energy efficiency jobs include positions in manufacturing, such as building ENERGY STAR® appliances, efficient windows and doors and LED lighting systems. They include jobs in construction – retrofitting buildings, offices and schools to make them more efficient. Efficiency careers are found in high-tech design and software and professional services, as well as at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies that upgrade outdated inefficient HVAC systems, boilers, ductwork and other equipment.

Energy efficiency jobs aren’t limited by geography, geology or political persuasion. There are workers in energy efficiency in every state and in virtually every U.S. county, the report shows. California is home to 7,400 of the nation’s 317,000 rural energy efficiency jobs while the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego metro areas account for 188,000—more than every U.S. except California.

Looking at legislative districts, 46 of California’s 53 congressional districts are home to at least 3,000 energy efficiency jobs. In the state legislature, all 40 of the state’s senate districts along with 76 of 80 house districts had over 1,000 energy efficiency jobs.

“State energy officials understand that energy efficiency and the jobs that come with it is an integral and important part of the overall economy,” said David Terry, Executive Director at NASEO, which provides research support for the underlying data behind Energy Efficiency Jobs in America“Policymakers at the state and federal levels will hopefully keep the size and reach of energy efficiency employment in mind as they plan for the future.”

More detailed findings of energy efficiency jobs for California and all 50 states and the District of Columbia – including job totals for every congressional and legislative district, industry and technology breakdowns, and maps of every state’s top counties — are at e2.org/eejobsinamerica. A set of FAQs about the report is here.

Other key findings:

  • 11% of energy efficiency jobs are held by veterans — nearly double the national average of 6%
  • Construction and manufacturing make up more than 70% of US. energy efficiency jobs
  • Energy efficiency jobs account for 19% of all construction jobs in California and more than one out of every six construction jobs nationally (1.3 million workers total)
  • More than 31,700 California energy efficiency businesses are involved in construction or manufacturing
  • Nationwide, 321,000 energy efficiency jobs are in manufacturing
  • Efficient lighting technologies employ 370,000 workers nationwide 
  • Energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and cooling technologies employ more than 187,000 California workers and over 1.1 million nationwide
  • ENERGY STAR appliances and efficient lighting firms employ nearly 71,800 Californians 
  • Energy efficiency employers are projecting 7.8% job growth nationwide in 2019
  • Small businesses are driving America’s energy efficiency job boom, with 78% of California workers employed by businesses with fewer than 20 total workers

Ahead of Energy Efficiency Day 2019 on October 2, E2 and E4TheFuture will host an online panel discussion onEnergy Efficiency Jobs in America 2019 featuring Keefe, Stanton, and the authors of the report from BW Research Partnership. To register and attend the free event on October 1, click here.

Energy Efficiency Jobs in America follows E2’s Clean Jobs America analysis, which found that clean energy jobs account for nearly 3.3 million jobs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Both reports expand on data from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) in partnership with NASEO, using data collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership. The report was released in March, and is available at www.usenergyjobs.org. E2 and E4TheFuture were both partners on the USEER, the fourth installment of the energy survey first released by the Department of Energy in 2016 and subsequently abandoned under the Trump administration.

To speak with business leaders around the country who support strong investments in energy efficiency and their impact on America’s economy, please contact Michael Timberlake (mtimberlake@e2.org), Patrick Mitchell (pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com).

Additional Resources:

Mixed Use Slated for 2019

Located on the crescent of The Palm in Dubai, a city famous for its luxury and opulence, The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences will bring forth a new generation of distinctive luxury as the first ‘super prime’ branded residences in the Dubai market when it opens next year. The luxe 43-story building will offer 231 residences with a hotel component in the west wing of the property providing a further 795 guest rooms and suites. The property offers over 90 swimming pools as well as several design ‘firsts.’




Derviş Zaim’s film is shown as part of the 17th Annual Boston Turkish Film Festival


Emre Arolat’s Sancaklar Mosque


NEW YORK – May 1, 2018 – On April 7th, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts hosted a screening of the Turkish Film Dream, directed by respected Turkish director, producer, and novelist Derviş Zaim, as part of the 17th Annual Boston Turkish Film Festival.  The screening was held at the museum’s Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium, and is the first time the film has been screened in the United States.


Dream, originally released in Turkey in 2016, follows architect Sine, who, dissatisfied with the current architectural landscape, designs an unconventional mosque inspired by the religious Seven Sleepers myth. The innovative Sancaklar Mosque, designed by internationally renowned architect Emre Arolat of EAA – Emre Arolat Architecture, was the mosque seen in the film.


“Sancaklar Mosque strips away design conventions and returns to the heart of Islamic philosophy.  With an original design focused on the essence of a place of worship as opposed to the aspects of a typical mosque,” said Arolat.  “I wanted to ensure that physical and emotional pleasure were at the forefront, and not form.  The mosque represents the purest forms of light and matter, to provide a space for worshipers to observe and be free from all outside burdens.”


Sancaklar Mosque is located in a prairie landscape.  The only visible elements of the mosque are the courtyard surrounded by horizontal walls and a vertical mass of stone serving as the mosque’s minaret.  The prayer hall reached down the cascading steps is a simple cave-like space meant to be an inspiring place for worshipers to be alone with God as they pray.  Additionally, the complex features a tea house, communal space, and library, encouraging social gatherings amongst visitors.